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Starting School:

Top Tips and Ideas to help your child prepare for starting school

Starting school is a big step for both you and your child. However there is plenty you can do to help your child settle and enjoy school.

Schools will invite you and your child for a visit. This will give you and your child the opportunity to meet the teacher, see the classroom, make new friends and get to know the routine of the school day.

Talk with your child about how he/she may be feeling about school. It is natural to feel excitement as well as anxiety, however, reassure your child through talking about things they will enjoy and the people they will know at school.

Reading books about starting school, playing ‘pretend schools’ with your child toys and trying on the new school uniform will also help to prepare your charger starting school.

There are many practical things you can do to help your child settle into school

Ways to help your child enjoy school

  • Encourage your child to share and take turns.
  • Have conversations with your child by listening and encouraging your child to talk with you.
  • Enjoy books and stories together.
  • Sing nursery rhymes and songs together.
  • Encourage your child to paint, glue, draw, build and explore messy play.
  • Explore the outdoors with your child – look for mini beasts, jump in the puddles etc.
  • Encourage your child to be active – running, climbing, jumping, hide ‘n’ seek, playing with balls.
  • Encourage your child to make marks for writing – writing the shopping list with you, writing birthday cards.
  • Encourage your child to count lots of different things.
  • Have a good bedtime routine so your child has enough sleep and wakes in time to be ready for school.

Encourage your child to do as much for themselves as they can

  • Dress and undress on their own, practice putting on and taking off their own coats, tops, trousers, shoes and socks.
  • Go to the toilet on their own and manage wiping them self cleaning and washing their hands.
  • Practice using cutlery to eat cooked dinners.
  • Recognise their own clothes, school bag and other belongings.
  • Recognise their own name when they see it.
  • To make choices about what they want to play with or what they want to eat.

Encourage your child to experience different things and cope with changes

  • Do things without you – Play at a friends house without you.
  • Eat with people other than their family.
  • Play with other children.
  • Go to different places – The library, swimming pool or family fun days.
  • Talk to unfamiliar adults – The dentist, shop assistance or children centre staff.
  • Visit lots of different toilets to try out and talk about the different ways of flushing toilets, turning on taps and drying hands.
  • Let the boys have a go at using a urinal!
  • Let your child experience not always being first and sometimes having to wait their turn.

How to help you cope when your child starts school

  • You may well be feeling anxious about your child starting school. This is perfectly normal, as it’s a big change in life with you as well as your child.
  • Talk to other parents who are going through the same thing.
  • Be aware your child may become upset and need you to comfort them. This will pass.
  • Talk to your Child’s teacher about your concerns.
  • Try hard not to show your child your feelings of anxiety as they will pick up on them.
  • Try to have a short positive goodbye routine so that your child knows you are leaving and then go! Prolonging the goodbye will make it harder for you both you and your child.
  • Most importantly, plan to do something nice with a friend on the day when your child starts school.
  • Most schools now have a dedicated member of staff who is employed to support parents in many ways.

Written with consultation from preschools, nurseries, childminders and reception teachers in the Corsham area.

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